One of the joys of being a writer in my mid-60s is editing out of my life all the things I really don’t want to do, don’t have time to do, or that other people mistakenly think I ought to do.

Run for Cover

Take running, for instance. I don’t run. I won’t run. I utterly refuse to run. And, you can’t make me. Look, every time I leave the house, I am passed in the street by some middle-aged jogger in unbecoming lycra, gasping for breath and puce in the face. You think I want to subject my elderly joints to being banged about on concrete? Do you?

All that guff about endorphins – forget it! I’m not destroying my knee joints by pounding the pavement and ending up in a wheelchair. The only exercise I do, as a writer of crime fiction is jumping to conclusions – or, letting my imagination run away with me. That keeps me quite busy enough, thank you.

 
 

Intoxication

The other expectation is that however old I get, I must always try to keep myself looking as youthful as possible, like all those (airbrushed) older celebs in women’s magazines. Nope. Not doing that either. I don’t botox, detox or retox myself. Sometimes I intoxicate myself with the odd glass of nicely chilled prosecco, but that’s as far as my toxing goes.

I’m nearly 66, FGS! These lines and wrinkles have been earned over the years. They are now practically vintage. They’re a wonderful part of getting older. I’m not going to give them away. No sirree. Nor am I going to have bits of me sucked out, plumped up, pushed in or pulled back. As for face gym and nacials… oh please!

Let Nature Take Its Course

WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get), as we unreconstructed individuals say in response to the constant media bombardment of eye-wateringly expensive creams, pills, potions, fillers, scrubbers, buffers, and emptiers made from the placentas of rare South American armadillos, which promise to restore us to what we never were in the first place. Forget it.

Besides, if I paid out for all those cosmetics, I couldn’t afford to leave the house as I’d be flat broke. So you’d never know how wonderfully youthful I had become. When did it become de rigour to have to look 20 years younger? What happened to ageing naturally? It seems to me that all this grooming lark is just torture sold as pampering.

Be Happy

Finally, before I climb creakily off my soapbox, don’t expect me to do the “full Brazilian” thing. Down there. You know what I mean. And I absolutely refuse to vajazzle, or vadazzle. It’s too much vahassle.

This isn’t a criticism of other people, by the way. Oh no no. You go for it, all of it, if that’s your desire. Me, I’m decluttering my life of other people’s expectations. I will do exactly what I like doing – enjoying my family, friends, my food, books, flowers and my cat. May not be much of a life to some but hey, I know what makes me happy.

So how about you? Do you resist the constant pressure to “look younger?” Are you comfortable in your skin? What do you love most about getting older? Where’s your happy place?

Carol HedgesCarol Hedges is the successful author of fifteen novels for teenagers and adults. Her books have been shortlisted for various prizes: her YA novel Jigsaw was long-listed for the Carnegie Medal and her historical novel Diamonds & Dust was listed for the 2013 CWA Historical Dagger. She is a cancer survivor, a vintage car driver, a cat owner and a doting grandma. She is currently writing the fifth book in her Victorian Crime series. She blogs on her website and posts on Facebook and Twitter about her life, her writing and minding her small granddaughter.

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